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It’s all in the thin air for Apple

price of new iPad air

Size does matter. For Apple Inc, thinner the better. The world’s leading technology company today introduced the world’s thinnest tablet.

Hoping to lure Christmas shoppers early, Apple Inc unveiled thinner iPads and faster Mac computers ahead of a competitive holiday shopping season.

The new thinner one-pound iPad Air will sell for US$499 in the US from 1 November.

Apple promises up to 10 hours of battery life on the thin iPad Air which runs iOS 7 and A7 chip.

The price of MacBook Pro with sharper retina display starts at US$1299 for the 13-inch Macbook Pro, and US$1999 for the 15-inch Macbook Pro in the US.

price of new iPad air

In a major deviation for its standard practice, Apple is also offering free upgrades on iOS, its operating system called Mavericks, and business software.

The upgrades to Mac operating system will also include download of free upgrade to iWork software suite, which is an equivalent of Microsoft’s MS Excel and MS Word.
Upgrade your Mac to the latest release of OS X (Mavericks) for free. To download OS X Mavericks, you need a Mac with OS X 10.6.6 or later.
This could be a major challenge to Microsoft’s dominant position in the operating system market with its Windows operating system.

Explaining the unexpected move, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook told reporters: “We are turning the industry on its ear, but this is not why we’re doing it. We want our customers to have our latest software.”

Mavericks, the new operating system will also lower batter consumption. With energy-saving core technologies in OS X Mavericks, you can surf the web longer on a single charge, says Apple. “Watching iTunes HD video is now more efficient, so you can watch more video when you’re not plugged in. App Nap regulates applications you’re not using so they consume less energy.”

Apple is also reported to launch its must awaited ultra-high definition televisions with 65- and 55-inch screens by the end of next year.

Riding on the popularity wave of iPhone 5S, Apple has continued its dominance in the US smartphone market. The iPhone 5S helped Apple increase September smartphone by  39%.

What’s new in OS X Mavericks

  • iBooks: Download and read books from the iBooks Store. Pick up right where you left off. iCloud keeps your current page up to date across all your devices.
  • Maps: Send directions from your Mac to your iPhone and use voice navigation on the go. Explore select cities in photo-realistic 3D with Flyover.
  • Calendar: See a map of your event’s location, as well as the weather forecast. See holidays and Facebook events in Calendar.
  • Safari: Use Shared Links to discover new, interesting links posted by people you follow on Twitter and LinkedIn. Protect your online privacy with new tracking-prevention features.
  • iCloud Keychain: •Sign in once to all of your mail, contacts, calendar, and other internet accounts, and iCloud pushes them to all your Mac computers.  Keep your website passwords, credit card numbers, and Wi-Fi passwords up to date across your trusted devices. Apple uses 256-bit AES encryption to keep your information safe. However, it is not recommended to store your sensitive information in Keychain.
  • Multiple Displays: Use your HDTV as a second display with Apple TV. Just plug in a second display to use it with your Mac — no configuration required.
  • Notifications: Reply to mail or messages right from a notification, without having to leave the app you’re using. Receive notifications for incoming FaceTime calls and reply with an iMessage or set a callback reminder. Receive notifications from websites, even when Safari isn’t running.
  • Finder Tabs: Declutter your desktop by consolidating multiple Finder windows into one. Move files between your tabs by simply dragging and dropping them.
  • Tags: Organize files with tags no matter where they’re located — in iCloud or on your Mac. Give a document as many tags as you want. Click a tag in the Finder sidebar to see all the files with that tag.

 

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Best New Apps For Your IPhone, Android

With Google and Apple working hard to introduce the latest advancements to their operating systems, freelance app developers have been working equally hard to produce the most useful apps for like-minded customers.

This guide lists five of the top apps for both iPhone and Android phones for the UK, dissecting the best picks for both of these operating systems, and leaving their respective app stores at your mercy.

TuneIn Radio

TuneIn Radio is arguably the best internet radio app for Android or iPhone available today. The user-friendly interface opens the gates to over 70,000 radio stations and two million podcasts delivered right to your phone wherever you are, and all for free! Whether you’re into blue grass or metal, Romanian news channels or sports commentary, you’ll find it all within TuneIn Radio’s exhaustive listings. Treat your ears and tickle your fancy with stations from all over the world operating around the clock, all streamed through this powerful app.

UGO

UGO Cab Finder offers a taxi booking app for both the iPhone and Android, to get you home as quickly and cost efficiently as possible.

The intuitive and user-friendly app is just the tip of the iceberg, though, since the service you will receive as a result of the app is second to none. Simply type in the point of departure, the destination, and the date and time you need your cab and let the powerful UGO engine do the work in finding you a local taxi service at a price that suits you.

It’s nationwide across the UK so you’ll never be stuck again without the number of a taxi after you install the UGO app, no matter where you are!

Pocket

Pocket (formerly Read It Later) is a cleverly designed app perfect for those who don’t have much time on their hands between tasks, or who have patchy mobile reception and need to make the most of every scrap of signal they get.

This free app allows users to ‘pocket’ web pages and videos of interest for later use, and even gives the user the ability to sync these precious snippets with other devices to make it even easier to keep up-to-date with reading tasks.


Snapchat

The now ubiquitous Snapchat app brands itself as ‘real-time picture chatting’, and boasts that it is up to ten times faster for sharing pictures than standard MMS services.

Snapchat is built on spontaneity, conferring upon its users ability to capture glimpses of their special moments and share these with friends and family. While some users attempt to use the app for strange pass times, the majority use this powerful and free app to capture the transient beauty of a sunset, or the burst of excitement felt upon seeing a particular sight.

Skyscanner

If you’ve been looking for an intuitive way to compare the millions of flights offered by thousands of airlines worldwide, and to shop for the lowest prices supplied by these airlines, as well as the best deals offered by travel agents, Skyscanner is the best way to go.

Just select your ideal holiday location and dates of travel, pick a few quick options, and let Skyscanner’s clean and hassle-free interface do the rest. You’ll never go back to price comparison sites or manual data mining after experiencing the power of this free app.

The guide above should provide you with the information your require to make an informed decision about the best apps for your particular device, and leave you enlightened as to which apps are the hottest on the market today.

Gary Smith is a tech blogger who loves to follow the latest developments in the world of apps, games and all things techy.

Featured images:

License: Creative Commons image source

License: Creative Commons image source

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Kiwi developer releases ‘Get Home Safe’ App

Safety app for iPhone android

With violence against women getting more gruesome and frequent in India, a new mobile application by a New Zealand developer could offer some safety help.

The free app privately monitors users’ location during an activity or task and raises a pre-set alarm if they don’t ‘’Get Home Safe’.

The app could be helpful for women returning home late at night, elderly going for a walk, children walking home from school alone,  and people working unsupervised.

App users register with GHS what they intend on doing, such as walking home after dark, and the time they will be ‘home safe’, for example in 15 minutes.

The app records GPS location data and  watches over the user’s movements throughout their chosen activity.

Safety app for iPhone android

If something unforeseen happens and the user doesn’t stop or extend tracking as planned, an alarm is raised and the GPS information is sent to pre-selected personal emergency contacts.

As the alarm is sent from the GHS servers not the phone, users don’t need a working phone or coverage for the alarm to be raised.

“GHS actually calls for help when you can’t, it’s truly amazing and really could save someone’s life,” says Kiwi entrepreneur Boyd Peacock, who developed the app with design company Firebrand.

“Who knows you’ve gone for that run or bike ride? Who knows you’re walking home late at night from the pub or bus stop, or that you’re driving the back road home this time?

“Who knows where your secret fishing spot is? Who knows exactly where you are working this afternoon? Who will know if you don’t get home safe?

“Regular alarms prompt you to check-in, so if you ever did need help the alarm would be raised far quicker and your last location mapped by our servers,” he says.

Boyd wishes to provide  ‘peace of mind’ for families with teenagers doing after school or weekend activities, especially as so many youngsters now have phones.

“GHS is not your mother, your boss or big brother and it’s certainly not the police. GHS does not judge or ask probing questions”.

“The neutrality of GHS provides a guardian for the activities in life that may carry a small element of risk giving people reassurance that their actions are being privately monitored should anything unforeseen happen.

While the app is free to download from iTunes app stores, it is free in the email alert only format. Within the app users can also choose to buy pre-paid text messages for 50 cents each, with a minimum purchase of $2.59, and use the text alert method. Unused text alerts are credited back to users if they check in on time.

Kiwi entrepreneur Boyd Peacock creator of Get Home Safe app_media

Users can opt to send their emergency contacts a pre-trip itinerary to allow them to follow the activity in real time or share ‘home safe’ summaries via social media.

The GHS idea was inspired after Boyd read about a boating accident in Southland’s Foveaux Straight in 2012 when a group of fishermen’s boat sank with all their mobile phones and emergency equipment on board.

“I thought to myself, if only someone was monitoring the use and location of a smart phone on board it could have been apparent much earlier that the fishermen had capsized and even where it happened, the alarm could have been raised much earlier,” Boyd says.

“GHS sends alarms independently of mobile phone coverage so if the fishermen had set regular half hour alarms with GHS then the alarm would have been raised as soon as they missed their first check-in and their last known location identified,” he said.

While the app is currently available only in Apple’s New Zealand App Store, it will be rolled out into the New Zealand Google Play store for Android users late August and then internationally in coming months.

 

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Canada launches online tool for new migrants

jobs in vancouver

Canada has launched a new guide and web tool to help newcomers settle and integrate in the country.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s new publication, Welcome to Canada, will assist immigrants in preparing to come to Canada and to help them navigate their way during their first months.

“The new edition shows our commitment to helping the citizens of tomorrow experience a smoother transition into their new community and into the Canadian workforce,” says Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.

Twice as long as the previous edition, the new guide is developed in consultation with several federal partners and experts in the field of integration, and has been reviewed by new immigrants.

jobs in vancouver

The guide features practical information on many different topics including how to access language classes, basic information about Canada’s education system, laws and the justice system, the labour market and much more.

For the first time, the Welcome to Canada guide includes examples of immigrants to Canada who have successfully integrated. The guide was enriched by advice and anecdotes from Nick Noorani, himself an immigrant and an expert who specializes in immigrant integration and career outcomes.

“Canada has given me more than I could ever have dreamed of,” says Nick. “And through my experiences I can help future immigrants succeed in Canada and this guide is a big part of that.”

This is the first time the Welcome to Canada guide has been revamped since it was first introduced in 1997. Like  Discover Canada citizenship study guide, Welcome to Canada is available in PDF or E-book format.

Similarly, the immigration department launched another interactive tool – Living in Canada Tool, also intended for newcomers. The new tool comes on the heels of the success of the Come to Canada Wizard, the online immigration assessment and application tool,

The Living in Canada Tool produces a semi-customized settlement plan filled with tips, next steps, and useful links based on user responses to the initial questionnaire. Users can also find local immigrant-serving organizations with the integrated Find Services map, and can bring with them their customized settlement plan for additional, personalized support.

To help newcomers integrate, the Government has tripled settlement funding since 2005-06 and remains committed to ensuring the distribution of settlement funding is fair, that immigrants receive the same level of service, regardless of where they choose to settle, says the immigration minister.

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iPhone 5 price in India starts at Rs45,000

Buyi Phone 5 in Delhi Mumbai

It’s not very often that you will get to see Indian men turning their back on a hot Bollywood actress.

I guess iPhone does that to men. To buy iPhone 5 in India, the men had to overlook the temptation of a Bollywood actress in red dress standing just a few feet away. The iPhone 5’s price in India was not a deterrent, either.

When Apple chose Delhi’s premium DLF Place (near Select City mall) to launch the latest version of its flagship product, iPhone 5, in India, the venue fitted the upper class target audience well.

Buyi Phone 5 in Delhi Mumbai

Looking at the craze in the crowd, you really wondered whether Apple really needed to rope in popular Bollywood actor Neha Dhupia to launch the hot phone.

At the launch venue in the middle of the atrium, men fought with each other to hand over their cash to Apple executives in the eight booths selling three versions of iPhone – 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. Hundreds of iPhone fans, mostly men, literally jostled in the queue to get their hand on the “thinnest, lightest iPhone ever”.

Wondering what’s the iPhone 5’s price in India? Be prepared to squander away anywhere from Rs45,000 (US$835) to Rs60,000 (US$1100) on your passion.

“I am a die-hard iPhone fan,” said the actress as she launched the new gadget which has already been prebooked in India to the extent of 150,000 units, according to a media report.

The gadget goes on retail sale from Sunday and will be available for the first time without being tied up with any mobile service provider.

Within minutes of going on sale at the launch, the sales counters were putting up “sold out” signs.

Airtel and Aircel are offering special plans for iPhone users.

In the fastest global rollout in iPhone’s history, Apple will release the new iPhone in 100 countries by Christmas this year.

How is iPhone 5 different from iPhone 4s

Thinner, lighter, longer

Larger 4-inch retina display

Faster A6 chip

8MP iSight camera

Faster WiFi

 

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Indian innovater gets ready with iPhone payments gadget

iPhone gadgets

When you speak with him, you get a sense of ease, even a sense of quiet, that sounds like an introvert. Get him to talk about his latest innovation – SwipeHQ however, and you get to hear him talk passionately.

And then, there’s an air of swiftness while answering potentially tricky questions (future product plans) that are met with a guarded and measured response.

Manas Kumar is a technology-smitten young man who spends 20 hours a day thinking about producing digital tools to make lives easier for businesses and its customers.

iPhone gadgets

And at 32 years of age, he has became the second-youngest business-owner to list his company on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Ever since that listing in December 2011, he’s been in news – for good reasons of course! The most recent being the announcement of his yet-to-be-launched device – SwipeHQ, a matchbox-sized device that plugs into an iPhone’s sound jack and converts the smartphone into a mobile payment device that can swipe a credit card to process a payment.

But that’s not how this story was meant to start.

He was a typical 20-something, cricket-struck Indian, with a dream to play at international level. That dream brought him to New Zealand in 2001, and before he knew, he was flipping burgers and pumping gas to make ends meet.

The hand-to-mouth existence meant he was working on multiple jobs, and did not leave him with much time to go home – so he would find somewhere in downtown to sleep before starting on the morning shift. Two years later, an urge to get out of the meagre existence gripped him.

Einstein gave him a clue. “The definition of insanity is,” Einstein famously said, “to do the same thing again and again and expect a different result.”

Manas aspired to break the vicious circle. That moment, the cricket bat made way for computer keyboard. A $10 buy of a domain name later, Manas started his website design company in 2003.

It wasn’t an easy ride – the first years of business were extremely difficult. Einstein probably repeated his mantra, and Manas changed gears to reinvent his company to develop software for businesses.

The year was 2007. This is when the wind entered the sail – things began to look up.

OptimizerHQ , as Manas’ company is now known, received good response to its flagship email marketing software, among other products. Manas had found his muse – to develop digital tools to help businesses serve its customers better.

Taking a leaf out of his own book, and possibly still listening to Einstein, Manas and his team looked at new ways of helping businesses, at a time when iPhones, Blackberrys and Galaxys were creating a growing category of tools – smart phones.

Manas designed a device, which will be launched in August, that can be plugged into a smart phone and voila! You have a payment gateway – a tool that merchants can use to receive payment from customers.

From lawnmower in the backyard, to the baker at the farmers market to major retail shops, the device can help a range of businesses. So who is his competition? “No one,” says Manas.

He is targeting a market that’s currently dependent on customers carrying cash. And what better place to launch his product than New Zealand – a cashless society, where the number of electronic payments (per capita, at point of sale) is one of the highest in the world. But he is not keen to compete in the EFTPOS (debit card) market.

SwipeHQ, as the device is known, will be able to process credit cards only at this stage. “It’s a deliberate strategy,” he says, and stops, not intending to reveal the reasons.

EFTPOS machines have taken years to gain trust of customers. Will customers trust smart phones to handle payments? Manas affirms that they have followed industry best practices in encryption and data safety while designing SwipeHQ.

“If you look in media, there have been so many instances where EFTPOS terminals have had issues in terms of not being able to stop fraud. There’s always risk with payment gateways.

“We have gone through all the regulatory aspects of producing this technology. We deploy a lot of resources into securing the device, and our commitment to security is second to none.”

He’s upbeat about the future of his company. “Internet is not just about website. OptimizerHQ is going to be a significant company because we are able to make a change in the way companies do business.”

Ask him about his personal life over the next few years, and you are greeted with a pause. “I’ll probably be still putting in 20-hour days for weeks at end!”

News Technology

New iPhone to be taller, skinnier

newiphonedimensions

If you are keen to buy iPhone wait. The new iPhone 5 will be smarter.

The next iPhone is pegged to be skinnier and taller, according to a report.

While it is still unclear whether the next iPhone will be called iPhone 5, iPhone 4G or iPhone 6, the Apple phone is rumoured to have received an extreme makeover, and will boast a taller frame and skinnier body.

new iPhone specs

The new iPhone as visualised by iLounge designer based on leaked information. (Image courtesy: iLounge)

The new size will be  125mm by 58.5mm by 7.4mm, which is 10mm longer and 2mm thinner than the outgoing model.

The information is reportedly leaked by Jeremy Horowitz, editor of iLounge.com, who had earlier correctly revealed many features of iPad 3.

In a major deviation from the norm, Apple will add a metal panel to the back of the new iPhone. This panel will be flat, not curved, and metal, not ceramic, writes Horowitz.

Iconic Gorilla Glass 2 will protect the larger 4-inch screen that’ll have a new aspect ratio. Many smartphones, including iPhone, already use Gorilla Glass.

Apple is also expected to to replace the legacy iPod dock connector with a smaller rounded port.

This is the first time that Apple will change the screen size since the first iPhone was introduced in 2007, and the first time that the changed screen size will also change the aspect ratio.

“A size ratio change would annoy developers, but would represent a sensible move if the screen was to be bigger,” writes Kit Eaton on FastCompany.com. Eaton also believes that the longer body will allow for more space for a bigger battery.

 

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eBay to hire 1000 staff in India

In what could be seen as a good news for IT skilled staff, eBay Inc.  announced plans to hire up to 1,000 technologists over the next three years.

The world’s largest online marketplace is expected to set up a development centre in India’s software city of Bangalore, which will house technologists from both eBay Marketplaces and PayPal – an eBay company. The California-based eBay connects buyers and sellers around the world who make and receive payments using PayPal, which has 110 million accounts in 190 markets.

The new centre in India will build on eBay Inc.’s existing presence in India which includes a global development centre with over 2,200 employees in Chennai and the eBay India business unit in Mumbai.

PayPal is growing globally, says Anupam Pahuja, General Manager – PayPal. “To support this growth, we are looking to tap into the large pool of software engineering talent in Bangalore. We are committed to India as a technology hub and see India’ssoftware engineering talent as a critical driver forthe long-term success of PayPal’sglobal payment platform.”

“eBay provides technologists a combination of startup culture to innovate and product excellence culture to build products,” says Rajesh Ramachandran, General Manager -eBay Marketplaces. “The India centre plays a strategic role in global product and technology innovation.”

The company is aggressively hiring senior technologists with strong product development experience across many functions including research, platform and application development, architecture, quality engineering, product management, marketing and product analytics, user experience and design, and information security.

Those who wish to apply can visit www.ebaycareers.com and type “Bangalore” into the job search box.

eBay Inc. in India has been rated one of the top 25 best places to work by the Great Place to Work Institute.

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Samsung hires Indians to take on Apple

SAMSUNG-INDIA-UNVEIL-OMNIA-HD-AND-OMNIA-PRO-MOBILE-PHONE

From exporting dried Korean fish to China in 1938 to threatening iPhone’s dominance in the smartphones market in 2011, Samsung has built a global presence by keeping with times.

To do that, the management of a global company needs to be able to spot trends early and respond quickly.

Samsung galaxy, apple iPhone, nokia, blackberry, mobile phones

South Korea’s consumer electronics brand seems to have spotted the wind of change early and has shown aberrance from its policy of sticking to local talent.

The leadership at Samsung Electronics Co. is probably influenced by Indians’ reputation as software geeks, as the company began hiring aggressively in India. According to a media report, “hundreds of Indians” are now working on software development at Samsung’s headquarters in Suwon.

“The company now serves curry and Halal meat in its cafeteria,” says a Wall Street Journal report. Samsung already has two research and development centres in India.

There are many qualified workers from India that are very skilled in software, says J.K. Shin, Samsung’s president for mobile business, in a media interview. “And there are small companies that we can acquire that have good research and development capabilities.”

Shin’s decisions have a strong bearing on the company’s future – his division earned 75% of Samsung’s $4.5 billion profit in this year’s first quarter alone.

Shin better be right. Samsung displaced Nokia to become the largest mobile-manufacturer (by volume) in the first quarter. In the 1990s, the name Nokia was synonymous with mobile phones, and the Finnish company had as much as 93% share of the mobile market in the world at one stage.

Samsung is in a position where its every move can become a trend, or at least an indication of a trend.  Samsung’s decision to hire from India – a hub of software development, underlines the role of software over hardware in writing the future of the mobile market. Apple’s dominance is based on its iOS operating system; Nokia has tied up with Microsoft for Windows Phone software; Research in Motion is also launching its new operating system – BlackBerry 10.

Samsung initially tried developing its own software, called Bada, which did not get a good reception from mobile users. Samsung then did the next best thing which probably saved it from meeting the fate of Nokia – it introduced phones that run on the popular Android platform built by Android Inc. (Google bought Android Inc in 2005.)

With the help of Indian talent, Samsung intends to re-visit Bada while continuing to develop other operating systems. This seems to be a logical move, while still working with Android.

“Samsung could benefit from some in-house software capability that would give it greater control of hardware, software and services but executing on that is becoming increasingly difficult on its own,” Neil Mawston, executive director at market research firm Strategy Analytics, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal.

work for Samsung in Korea

As soon as he graduated in India, Muthu (second from left) came to Korea five years ago and started his career with Samsung. “I was unfamiliar with everything: language, daily life, work and culture. However, I had mentors who helped me to get used to life in Korea. After I got assigned to my division, seniors took care of me on getting used to work as well as my personal life. That is how I got used to being here.”